The Treasures of Alexander the Great: How One Man's Wealth Shaped the World (Onassis Series in Hellenic Culture)

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9780199950966: The Treasures of Alexander the Great: How One Man's Wealth Shaped the World (Onassis Series in Hellenic Culture)
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War, the most profitable economic activity in the ancient world, transferred wealth from the vanquished to the victor. Invasions, sieges, massacres, annexations, and mass deportations all redistributed property with dramatic consequences for kings and commoners alike. No conqueror ever captured more people or property in so short a lifetime than Alexander the Great in the late fourth century BC.

For all its savagery, the creation of Alexander's empire has generally been hailed as a positive economic event for all concerned. Even those harshly critical of Alexander today tend to praise his plundering of Persia as a means of liberating the moribund resources of the East. To test this popular interpretation, The Treasures of Alexander the Great investigates the kinds and quantities of treasure seized by the Macedonian king, from gold and silver to land and slaves. It reveals what became of the king's wealth and what Alexander's redistribution of these vast resources can tell us about his much-disputed policies and personality.

Though Alexander owed his vast fortune to war, battle also distracted him from competently managing his spoils and much was wasted, embezzled, deliberately destroyed, or idled unprofitably. The Treasures of Alexander the Great provides a long-overdue and accessible account of Alexander's wealth and its enormous impact on the ancient world.

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About the Author:


Frank L. Holt is Professor of History at the University of Houston and the author of Lost World of the Golden King, Into the Land of Bones, Alexander the Great and the Mystery of the Elephant Medallions, and Thundering Zeus.

Review:


"Written in clear and simple language, based on a thorough analysis of ancient historians and for this reason dispelling many myths about Alexander's conquest, this book will find many readers among the specialists of ancient history but it will also captivate all those who want to discover another side of Alexander the Great." --Alain Bresson, University of Chicago


"It's not easy to find something new to say at book length about Alexander the Great and his conquests, but in this fascinating and exciting study Frank Holt does just that. By building up a picture of the conqueror's income and expenses, he assesses the strengths and weaknesses of his fiscal policies, sheds light on the economic impact of the conquest, lays some old canards to rest, and even teases out conclusions about Alexander's character. This book will change the way we look at Alexander." --Robin Waterfield, author of Dividing the Spoils and Taken at the Flood


"Mr. Holt is fearless in his interrogation of both the ancient sources and the received wisdom among modern scholars...[his prose] radiates conviction and clarity." --The Wall Street Journal


"This book is in many ways a compelling study of the economics of conquest...The book is extremely well-written and a pleasure to read throughout, no small achievement given that Holt's story is at least in part a story of numbers and calculations rather than of battles and murderous drinking parties. Holt is creative in his use and presentation of those numbers and restrained when the evidence is not sufficient to resolve debate. The book will be an excellent addition to undergraduate or graduate courses on Alexander as well as an important contribution to discussions among specialists on Alexander and more broadly the effects of war." --William D. Barry, Bryn Mawr Classical Review


"Written in clear and simple language, based on a thorough analysis of ancient historians and for this reason dispelling many myths about Alexander's conquest, this book will find many readers among the specialists of ancient history but it will also captivate all those who want to discover another side of Alexander the Great." --Alain Bresson, University of Chicago


"It's not easy to find something new to say at book length about Alexander the Great and his conquests, but in this fascinating and exciting study Frank Holt does just that. By building up a picture of the conqueror's income and expenses, he assesses the strengths and weaknesses of his fiscal policies, sheds light on the economic impact of the conquest, lays some old canards to rest, and even teases out conclusions about Alexander's character. This book will change the way we look at Alexander." --Robin Waterfield, author of Dividing the Spoils and Taken at the Flood


"Mr. Holt is fearless in his interrogation of both the ancient sources and the received wisdom among modern scholars...[his prose] radiates conviction and clarity." --The Wall Street Journal


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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. War, the most profitable economic activity in the ancient world, transferred wealth violently from the vanquished to the victor. Invasions, massacres, confiscations, deportations, the sacking of cities, and the selling of survivors into slavery all redistributed property with epic consequences for kings and commoners alike. The most notable example occurred in the late fourth century BC, when Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire. For all of its savagery, this invasion has generally been heralded as a positive economic event for all concerned. Even those harshly critical of the king today tend to praise his plundering of Persia as a means of liberating the moribund resources of the East. To test that popular interpretation, this book investigates the kinds and quantities of treasure seized by the Macedonian king, from gold and silver to land and slaves. It reveals what became of the king s wealth, and what Alexander s redistribution of these vast resources can tell us about his much-disputed policies and personality. Although war made Alexander unbelievably wealthy, it distracted him from managing his spoils competently. Much was wasted, embezzled, deliberately destroyed, or idled again unprofitably. These facts force us to reassess the notion, prevalent since the nineteenth century, that Alexander the Great used the profits of war to improve the ancient economies in the lands that he conquered. Seller Inventory # AAS9780199950966

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